The Hyundai Santa Fe SR has been unveiled featuring a tougher look and boasting improved on-road prowess.
This is the first SUV to wear Hyundai's fledgling SR badge, following in the tyre prints of the Veloster, i30 and Accent models.
Changes are primarily skin deep, although product planner Andrew Tuitahi points out that the changes mean the "Santa Fe SR looks, corners and stops harder".
Prices are yet to be announced before its arrival early next year, but the SR will be the hero of the MY15 Santa Fe range which has just been released.
The line-up has been tweaked with revised pricing, which has seen the base model stay at $38,490 while mid and top-spec variants have risen slightly.
Engineers overhauled the Santa Fe brakes to feature Brembo four-piston monobloc front calipers and two-piston rears. They pull the anchors on matt-black 19-inch alloys shod with Michelin Latitude Tour tyres.
Combined with H&R performance springs it results in stopping distance reduced by 8% from 60kmh, and an SUV with corners harder with and feels remarkably more nimble.
There are no diesel engine enhancements, and it won't get a dual exhaust system which we saw this week because it means dropping the full-size spare.
"For the Santa Fe SR we're sticking with the standard engine while offering unique, sportier styling, improved braking performance and higher-specification tyres," says Tuitahi.
"Combined, these attributes make a significant difference in terms of lateral grip and cornering, and so too do the springs in terms of feel and response.
"I think we've ticked a lot of the right boxes. In terms of sports SUVs, at our price point I don't think there are any direct competitors for this vehicle."
While we'll have to wait until 2015 for the SR, the latest updated Santa Fe models have already arrived.
Standard kit is still seven airbags, stability control and a host of associated safety technology, hill descent and ascent control, full-size spare, 10.9cm touch-screen, cruise control, auto lights, 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming and a reversing camera with parking sensors.
Elites now get an automatic tailgate, along with 18-inch alloys, stainless steel scuff plates, folding heated side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a larger touch-screen with sat nav and 10 speakers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather trim, a smart key with push-button start, climate control and a cooled glovebox.
Highlander have lane departure warning system and automatic parallel parking functionality added to the previous complimentary kit of 19-inch alloys, a panoramic glass roof, xenon headlights, LED rear lights, auto-dimming side mirrors, electric adjustment for the front seats, and heated front and second-row seats.
The SR will get a sports bodykit, Brembo brakes, H&R performance springs and Oz Racing wheels with Michelin tyres.
Details: Mid-size all-wheel seven-seat drive sports utility vehicle.
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 141kW @ 6300rpm and peak torque of 242Nm @ 4250rpm; 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel generating 145kW @ 3800rpm and 421Nm @ 1800-2500rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Consumption: 9.0 litres/100km (petrol, auto and manual); 6.6L/100km (manual diesel); 7.3L/100km (auto diesel)
CO2: 209g/km (petrol models); 174g/km (diesel manual); 192g/km (diesel auto).
Towing capacity: 2500kg (m), 2000 (a), tow ball rating 100kg.
Bottom line: Petrol - Active (m) $38,490, Active (a) $40,990. Diesel - Active (m) $41,490, Active (a) $43,990, Elite (a) $48,490, Highlander (a) $53,240.